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Clan of the Cave Bear Sling Survey (Read 356 times)
Shale
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Clan of the Cave Bear Sling Survey
Jul 16th, 2017 at 10:06am
 
The Clan of the Cave Bear is the first book in a series about a Homo Sapiens girl named Ayla who is raised by Neanderthals. The story takes place in what is now Europe, the Ukraine and Russia around 25000-35000 years ago. I recently read the series. The first book is okay, but getting through the rest was a bit of a slog.

I have listed some of the claims that the books make about slings. For each of these claims, indicate if you think it is very likely, possible, unlikely or complete bullshit. Include an explanation if you want. In a few days I will post the result, and if there is a lot of disagreement about one or more of the claims, it might make for an interesting discussion. Enjoy!

1. The main hunting weapons that the Neanderthals use are long thrusting spears, bolas and slings. Is it likely that the Neanderthals used slings?

2. The Homo Sapiens in the series (apart from Ayla) do not use slings. In fact, they seem to have only a vague idea of what a sling is. They mostly hunt with throwing spears (though one person uses a throwing stick to hunt birds). Is it likely that significant numbers of HS were not using slings at this time?

3. Ayla's sling is made out of a single strip of leather. Is it likely that people living on the Eurasian steppe would have made their slings this way?

4. Ayla develops a technique for rapidly throwing two stones from her sling. She throws the first stone, catches her sling on the downstroke, puts the second stone in the pouch while it is still moving and then follows through with a second throw. Is it likely that a person could rapidly throw two stones in this way?

5. Ayla is able to kill hyenas and wolves with her sling. Is it likely that a sling could take down these sorts of animals?

6. Ayla is able to hunt with her sling from horseback. Is it likely that a sling could be effectively used while riding a horse?

7. One of the Homo Sapiens who sees Ayla sling rocks is inspired to try to do the same thing with spears. This eventually leads him to invent the atlatl. Is it likely that the sling inspired the development of the atlatl?

8. Four clods of dirt are thrown in the air at the same time. Ayla is able to hit all four with her sling before they hit the ground. Likely to happen?
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Shale

As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honor to a fool. (Proverbs 26.8)
 
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Parmenion
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Re: Clan of the Cave Bear Sling Survey
Reply #1 - Jul 16th, 2017 at 11:50am
 
1,2,3. i don't know

4. check these out :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=966tyGsqgEc , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7WNAW-2vj8
but i would say around 5 throws/minute is the most effective.

5. i would say yes , but there are a lot of variables and i haven't tried yet Tongue

6. i don't think human race had tamed horses  25000-35000 years ago

but with a tamed horse that you can ride and suitable technique (to not whip the horse's face/ears) it is possible but weaker than on foot. so maybe not so effective.

7. i think atlatl was invented the same time as the sling.
Maybe the sling was an inspiration for the making of the ankyle which lead to atlatl.(? Huh)

8.  similar to 4. but requires much more accuracy. depends on how high you throw the clods of dirt.
ask a juggler if he can do the same thing with hand throwing ,then see how fast you need to throw and then compare to the above videos.
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Re: Clan of the Cave Bear Sling Survey
Reply #2 - Jul 16th, 2017 at 10:29pm
 
1. No idea. Last I checked scientists couldnt even agree on where modern man originated from let alone what weapon was used when. I like to think they used alings though.

2. See 1.

3. Keep in mind I know next to nothing about this so this is my expert opinion, but yes I think so. Leather is so useful, we know they used it for other things. Why not slings?

4. Likely, no. Ive seen no evidence that indiginous cultures bothered with extremely fast reloading for slings. In war that makes a little more sense. Most hunter/gatherer cultures seem to have a very lazy way about them. Thats not an insult, they just know what works. In my own experience I would take accuracy with the first shot over a quick follow up any day of the week.

5.You bet. Imagine a wolf getting hit in the head by one of Louis Pons Livermores sling stones.
The hunters would have been very good. Im sure if they had to they could lay down the hurt.

6. For hunting. Unlikely. And whats more, no need. For war, possibly.

7. There is an older gentlemen on youtube with a video that postulates this. Personally Im skeptical.

8. I bet its never happened since the invention of the sling. So no, not likely.
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Re: Clan of the Cave Bear Sling Survey
Reply #3 - Jul 17th, 2017 at 1:52am
 
1.) Most of the evidence I've seen would suggest that they were using thrusting spears for hunting. Due to the impermanence of the materials used at the time, it is possible that slings and bolas were beings used, but I haven't seen any evidence to support that idea.

2.) The origins of sling technology are not well understood at this time.

3.) There is no way to be certain, and I wouldn't begin to know how to guess.

4.) I'm not entirely certain that the technique exists or that it ever will outside of literature, but anything is possible I suppose. In my experience, slings are not a weapon that allows for "rapid fire" due to the weapon's dependence on building momentum in order to generate force and the tendency for cordage to twist and tangle consequently.

5.) Yes. Yes I do. Even if it didn't kill the animal immediately (which it could) the injuries would decrease the chances of survival for the wolf and would likely convince any attacking animal that there are perhaps better ways to spend its time.

6.) I think it's very possible to be effective while riding a horse that is standing still, but accurately firing glandes or stones from a horse at full gallop sounds more like an entertaining movie (Lord of the Slings?) than a successful way to hunt as a caveman.

7.) Ahh.. the old chicken vs the egg question. Both weapons operate using leverage to increase energy in launching a projectile.. I couldn't guess which came first.

8.) No I don't. Even if those clods were hurled 20 feet high, I very much doubt that could be done. That said, I would love finding out that I'm wrong in this case!
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Re: Clan of the Cave Bear Sling Survey
Reply #4 - Jul 17th, 2017 at 4:19am
 
Schnelles schießen ist wichtig für die Jagt. Es erhöht die Wahrscheinlichkeit der Treffer. Wenn man nur einmal dreht erhöht es die Geschwindigkeit. Aber es nimmt Kraft und Genauigkeit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvW9M7PG9Vo

Vier Brocken in der Luft zu treffen halte ich für ausgeschlossen. Ein Ziel in der Luft zu trffen ist bereits sehr schwer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qhIhWGEcnc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ntdgSEMjqs
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Re: Clan of the Cave Bear Sling Survey
Reply #5 - Jul 17th, 2017 at 6:09am
 
1,2. No idea

3. It can certainly be done with a single strip of leather. Might not be the most efficient way though.

4. I don't think you could do this at any sort of speed that would be a significant improvement on just catching and loading as normal. Also, to get any decent power in a sling it has to have some form of wind up which takes at least a second. You wouldn't be able to load without losing momentum.

5. It's certainly possible, especially with lead projectiles (unlikely to have those so long ago though). A powerful rock to the head would probably kill any animal less than 100kg, and possibly a fair bit more. Hitting the head is no trivial task though, and torso and limb shots wouldn't likely be fatal on larger animals.

6. You could, it would likely be a lot weaker though. Try throwing a rock as hard as you can, then do it again whilst sitting on the floor to see the difference.

7. It's certainly possible. It's either that, the other way round or that they developed independently.

8. Doesn't sound too likely at all. You just can't sling that fast, absolute best is probably around 1 every 3 seconds likely with a short sling and a not very powerful throw. To hit even a single airborne dirt clod is also an impressive to amazing feat depending on size and distance etc.
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Re: Clan of the Cave Bear Sling Survey
Reply #6 - Jul 17th, 2017 at 7:05am
 
okay first.
The woman who wrote clan of the cave bear has never done any serious research - at all.
I think i managed to get through about 25% of the first book before giving up in disgust.

All the information in the books is pretty much wrong.
neanderthals were purely hunter gatherers.

It is highly unlikely that neanderthals had slings. It is highly unlikely that anyone in that time period rode horses.
The slinging feats are pretty much nonsense.

Slings appeared with herding and raising animals for meat rather than hunting and settlements.
Until then nobody had need of them.

No you could not hit four items in the air with seperate shots.  A pouch full of small pebbles and a lot of luck might do it.  But not 4 seperate aimed throws.

20 throws a minute is doable and has been videoed a couple times both by tint and jaegoor.

I can put two missiles into the air at the same time from seperate throws - my second favourite trick shot. I doubt anyone can do 4 and you don't aim at anything. The first throw must go really really high. 

Pretty much everything in the cavebear series about neanderthals is wrong.
I'd suggest you can apply the same to the sling info Smiley

The oldest known evidence of sling use is in catal hyuk in turkey and dates back 7-12'000 years.

Atlatls are most likely the oldest projectile thrower.

yes slings are effective against wolves and jackals.
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Do All things with Honour and Generosity: Regret Nothing, Envy None, Apologise Seldom and Bow your head to No One  - works for me Smiley
 
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Re: Clan of the Cave Bear Sling Survey
Reply #7 - Jul 17th, 2017 at 2:09pm
 
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Re: Clan of the Cave Bear Sling Survey
Reply #8 - Jul 17th, 2017 at 5:56pm
 
1,2, and 3 it's difficult to say since all slings back then were made of biodegradable materials.
4. Not likely in my opinion.
5.  Yes, I believe so. An experienced slinger can generate a lot of power.
6.  I seriously doubt anyone could be accurate with a sling from a moving horse. It's difficult enough with feet on the ground.
7.  No idea. It's very difficult to guess which came first.
8. Very unlikely.

Excellent post, Shale.
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Re: Clan of the Cave Bear Sling Survey
Reply #9 - Jul 19th, 2017 at 4:33pm
 
1,2, and 3.  Not a clue.

4.  Probably not. 

5.  Yes.  It would require her to throw fist sized stones and she would probably have to finish them off with a spear.  Not instant death unless it's a head shot with a pretty large stone.  (FWIW, I bow hunt with a wooden bow, deer can see the arrow coming and can and will dodge it, so if the wolves see or hear the rocks coming, they will dodge them.)


6.  Horses were food, not transportation. 

7.  Depending on who you talk to, Atlatls came out of northern Africa or Central Asia around 15,000 to 18,000 years ago.  Neanderthals used a Bois du Commandant.  Which is a cross between an Atlatl and an Aceumn.

8.  No.  She might hit the first and maybe a second, if they were thrown high enough and far enough.
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Re: Clan of the Cave Bear Sling Survey
Reply #10 - Jul 21st, 2017 at 1:51pm
 
Thanks to everyone who took the survey. Here are the results, and some brief comments:

1. The main hunting weapons that the Neanderthals use are long thrusting spears, bolas and slings. Is it likely that the Neanderthals used slings?

Unknown: 6
Very unlikely: 1

I don't know whether they did or not, so I will comment on whether it makes sense in the context of the story. The Neanderthals in the story are very strong, but their arms have less range of motion than a HS. If this were true, then a flexible throwing weapon might allow them to compensate.

2. The Homo Sapiens in the series (apart from Ayla) do not use slings. In fact, they seem to have only a vague idea of what a sling is. They mostly hunt with throwing spears (though one person uses a throwing stick to hunt birds). Is it likely that significant numbers of HS were not using slings at this time?

Unknown: 6
Very unlikely: 1

I also don't know whether this is true. In the story hunting is generally a communal activity for HS, and they mostly pursue larger animals. This was probably true. But apart from one person who has a throwing stick, none of the HS carries a weapon that is suited for hunting small game, despite the fact that such game is plentiful. I think it's unlikely that HS wouldn't have something that is suited for hunting smaller animals, and a sling is a possibility.

3. Ayla's sling is made out of a single strip of leather. Is it likely that people living on the Eurasian steppe would have made their slings this way?

Unknown: 4
Possible: 2

Tomas made a nice sling out of a single piece of leather

http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1478209312/0

In the same thread Timothy Potter gives a reference to a Siberian sling that was made that way. But it probably isn't the most efficient way to make a sling.

4. Ayla develops a technique for rapidly throwing two stones from her sling. She throws the first stone, catches her sling on the downstroke, puts the second stone in the pouch while it is still moving and then follows through with a second throw. Is it likely that a person could rapidly throw two stones in this way?

Possible: 4
Unlikely: 4

There are some pretty fast slingers out there, so I think that it is possible, though I question how effective it would be for hunting

5. Ayla is able to kill hyenas and wolves with her sling. Is it likely that a sling could take down these sorts of animals?

Likely: 7

I wouldn't want my life to depend on taking down a wolf or a hyena with a sling, but I agree that you could do it. In the books Ayla regularly insta-kills such animals, which is implausible,

6. Ayla is able to hunt with her sling from horseback. Is it likely that a sling could be effectively used while riding a horse?

Unlikely: 4
Possible: 1

Argentinian gauchos were very effective at using bolas from horseback, and American cowboys use lassos, and both weapons present similar challenges to using a sling, so I think that it is possible. But it would take a lot of practice and probably isn't worth it.

7. One of the Homo Sapiens who sees Ayla sling rocks is inspired to try to do the same thing with spears. This eventually leads him to invent the atlatl. Is it likely that the sling inspired the development of the atlatl?

Possible: 2
Unlikely: 2
Unknown: 3

I also don't know which one came first or whether the sling inspired the first atlatl or vice versa. However, both the sling and the atlatl were independently discovered/invented by many cultures and it is possible that in one of these cases the one inspired the development of the other.

8. Four clods of dirt are thrown in the air at the same time. Ayla is able to hit all four with her sling before they hit the ground. Likely to happen?

Very unlikely/impossible: 6
Possible but unlikely: 1

I think this is very unlikely. Hitting four stationary clod-sized targets with four shots is impressive. Hitting them when they are moving and withing 10 seconds or so would be mind blowing.
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Shale

As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honor to a fool. (Proverbs 26.8)
 
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